Trump versus NATO

The NATA summit in Brussels has started with Donald Trump on the offensive.

RealClearPolitics:  In Testy Exchange, Trump Hits Germany for Being ‘Captive’ to Russia

In a combative start to his NATO visit, President Donald Trump asserted Wednesday that a pipeline project has made Germany “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” and blasted allies’ defense spending, opening what was expected to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies.

Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russia.

“I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia,” Trump said at breakfast with Stoltenberg. “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate.”

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe.

Trump said “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia” and urged NATO to look into the issue.

Will Trump install a gas pipeline from the US to Germany to keep them captive to him?

Stoltenberg pushed back, stressing that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences. “I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart,” he told the president, trying to calm tensions.

Guardian: Angela Merkel hits back at Donald Trump at Nato summit

Angela Merkel has pushed back against Donald Trump’s extraordinary tirade against Germany on the first day of the Nato summit in Brussels, denying her country was “totally controlled” by Russia and saying it made its own independent decisions and policies.

In less blunt language than the US president’s, the German chancellor made the point that she needed no lessons in dealing with authoritarian regimes, recalling she had been brought up in East Germany when it had been part of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence.

Arriving at Nato headquarters only hours after Trump singled out Germany for criticism, Merkel said: “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany.”

She also hit back at Trump’s criticism that Germany contributed too little to European defence. “Germany does a lot for Nato,” she said.

“Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to Nato and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan. In that we also defend the interests of the United States.”

Merkel has much more experience dealing with other countries than Trump, something that is essential in a part of the world where there are a lot of countries in close proximity.

Europe comprises 50 countries, has a population of about 740 million,and has an area of 10,180,000 km2.

The United States is a single country with 50 states and has a population of about 345 million, and has an area of 9,833,520 km2.

So about the only thing similar is the land area.

Russian influence in Latvia and Estonia is far more real. The Baltic countries  have been directly controlled by Russia twice (and by Germany once). They border Russia and have many ethnic Russian citizens.

NY Times: Trump Derides NATO as ‘Obsolete.’ Baltic Nations See It Much Differently

As President Trump joins his second NATO summit meeting — having called the alliance “obsolete,” derided its members as deadbeats and suggested that American military protection is negotiable — there is deep unease on the alliance’s eastern flank. And that sense has only been heightened by Mr. Trump’s scheduled one-on-one meeting next week with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

The United States ambassador to Estonia, James D. Melville Jr., became so exasperated with the constant statements from Mr. Trump disparaging the alliance and the European Union that late last month he quit in disgust.

And as the Trump-Putin meeting approached, a popular Russian-language Latvian newspaper ran a picture of the two men, cheek by jowl, with the ominous headline: “What Will Trump and Putin Agree On: The End of the E.U.?”

For the nations of Latvia and Estonia, nestled between Russia and the Baltic Sea and with large ethnic Russian populations, NATO is no abstraction.

Long before the debate over the Kremlin’s interference in the American election, there was alarm in the Baltic nations over Russian attempts to influence public opinion and exploit the complicated issues of ethnic identity in a region reshaped by war and occupation. In both the annexation of Crimea and its actions in Ukraine, the Russian government has used protecting the rights of ethnic Russians as a pretext for intervention. About one-third of the populations of Latvia and Estonia are ethnic Russians.

Most of the ethnic Russians arrived after the war, when the country was under Soviet domination. They have long been educated in separate schools and formed different social bonds as the nation has struggled to integrate them into society.

But the assimilation process has been made harder by increasingly aggressive propaganda campaigns in the Russian-language news media, narratives widely believed to be directed from Moscow with the intent of heightening divisions.

The inter-relationships between European countries are complex, with long histories.

I don’t know if Trump understands any of this. His bully and bluster approach to achieving what he wants may work in some ways for the US, but it is unlikely to reduce Russian influence (or Chinese influence) – and it is at real risk of doing the opposite.

He continues to drive wedges between different countries and the US. His selfish isolationist is likely to reduce  influence over time, as the rest of the world learns to rely less on the United States – especially if the tempestuous Trump stays in charge for any length of time.

 

27 Comments

  1. David

     /  July 12, 2018

    Nato members committed to spending 2% of GDP on defense and the Germas are at 1% despite being able to easily afford it. Germany shut down its nuclear power plants and did a deal with Russia for 70% of its energy and expects the US taxpayer to provide its defense from Russia ! A former German Chancellor is a director of the company awarded the pipeline deal, the rest of the world were rightly stunned at this development as they were at the time putting sanctions on Russia.
    Germany has crafted Europe for its own benefit with disastrous results, its crafted NATO for its own use and that is about to fall apart. The Germans are generally an arrogant and self interested bunch who dont play well with others.
    Merkel is just about finished and thank god for that and the question she should answer is “why should the US taxpayers fund Germany,s defense from Russia who has an economy about the size of Italy,s while Germany spends billions buying Russian energy”.

  2. David

     /  July 12, 2018

    Start the video at a minute 15 its quite extraordinary.

  3. Blazer

     /  July 12, 2018

    I agree that the merkins should not fund Europes defence .
    After the breakup of the USSR and the amalgamation of East and West Germany ,mother Russia has been more concerned with consolidation and defence than any hostile ambitions.
    The U.S strategy of encirclement was disrupted by the Russians escalation of sovereignty in the Crimea/Ukraine region.
    Russia wants economic expansion not military.
    The U.S makes the same allegations against China in the Sth China Sea.
    All in all with trade tariffs announced Trump is leading the U.S back to the isolationist mentality they had in the earlier 20th century.

    p.s-no wonder you bought a Raj Rover instead of a…BMW!

    • David

       /  July 12, 2018

      Agree with your point that the cold war is long over and Europe should be able to organise its own defence, clearly they cant so either they dont see it as an issue or they are quite happy to let the English and American taxpayers carry the cost.

      • Blazer, when you say ‘merkins’, are you making a pun ?

        For those who don’r know, merkins are pube wigs 😀

  4. David

     /  July 12, 2018

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5942109/Donald-Trump-RIGHT-Germany-imports-70-cent-gas-Russia.html

    Even the Trump hating Daily Mail takes a break from hate and backs Trump and the preposterous German situation.

  5. Corky

     /  July 12, 2018

    Previous American presidents have brought this issue up. But only Trumpy is prepared to do something about it. So of course he is hated on.

    Time is up for freeloaders. Talking of freeloaders, what is New Zealand’s defence spending as a % of GDP?

  6. Zedd

     /  July 12, 2018

    I think Id rather watch a turd flushing down the toilet.. than listen to MrT ranting about ‘how great he is’ (in his own mind)

  7. Zedd

     /  July 12, 2018

    MrT claims Germany is controlled by Russia.. OR is MrT owned by Putin, just trying to divert it ? :/

    • Corky

       /  July 12, 2018

      America is owned by China..hence President Trumpy applying the hurt to China.

      • Blazer

         /  July 12, 2018

        Trump atitagain…Corky will love this…

        • Corky

           /  July 12, 2018

          Trumpy for president.!!! Oh, I forgot he is. It’s just I keep thinking he’s leader of planet earth. I mean, who can compare…Bernie Sanders? lol!

        • Zedd

           /  July 12, 2018

          there was a story on AlJz that there are many ‘bots’ at work on twitter etc.
          Many of MrTs ‘so-called followers/supporters’ may well be just targeted programs (for & against) ?? :/

          • Corky

             /  July 12, 2018

            Well, there is programme that doesn’t lie….the election.

    • David

       /  July 12, 2018

      Who is buying 71 billion dollars of gas off Russia while your neighbors are imposing sanctions and you are relying on the US taxpayers to ensure your safety.
      Germany is using its leverage of having US troops to get a better deal from the Russians and a pipeline against the express wish,s of most of your EU partners. Its playing both sides and is duplicitous.

      • Blazer

         /  July 12, 2018

        how do U.S taxpayers ensure…their safety?

        • David

           /  July 12, 2018

          NATO is pretty much a European thing aimed at Russia who is of zero risk for the Americans.

  8. Patzcuaro

     /  July 12, 2018
  9. Patzcuaro

     /  July 12, 2018

    There have been a lot of own goals at this World Cup.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 12, 2018

      Always amusing to see the latest way Trump has riled the Left and got them forecasting Armageddon. Never a day passes without.

      • Gezza

         /  July 12, 2018

        I think it’s time Europe started working out its own shit & not just going along with the US’s agenda. Their interests don’t always coincide. The Muslim terrorist attacks they suffer from & pay billions to monitor & protect against have come out of their involvement with America’s dalliances with, & wars, against Muslim countries. While, apart from their military bases spread all around the globe, America sits safely away out on its own, not directly facing floods of Muslim refugees & massive influxes of low skill, different culture, migrants from Africa. The US has its own similar problem there with its overly porous Southern border. It IS time for Europe to address their political & national weaknesses.

        • Patzcuaro

           /  July 12, 2018

          I agree, for all it’s bluster Russia is only the 5th largest economy in Europe, so Western Europe should be able to defend itself against Russia.